Small Steps for Catholic Moms
Your Daily Call to Think, Pray and Act
By Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss
Ave Maria Press, 2013
395 pages, $16.95
To order: avemariapress.com
Before you begin to read this book, we want to be clear about one thing: There are no rules. This book is not an obligation. If you begin to use it daily and then wind up setting it aside for a while, you will not have failed."
And so begins a book that’s remarkable for its simplicity and brilliant for its loveliness. Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Your Daily Call to Think, Pray and Act is the latest in the popular CatholicMom.com book series from Ave Maria Press.
You get exactly what it promises: one small step for every day of the year. The months are grouped by virtues, so you go from a theme of "joy" in January to one of "sacrifice" in March, "charity" in August and "peace" in December.
It takes less than four minutes to read each day’s prompt, which includes a quote from a saint ("Think"), a one- or two-sentence prayer ("Pray") and something that you may or may not be able to accomplish throughout the day ("Act").
Unlike so many of the daily reading books that come across my desk, this is one that appeals to me in the midst of every season of motherhood I’ve hit so far. In fact, it’s perfect for moms I know who are older or not inclined to read, too.
What makes this book such a gem is the compilation that went into the back end. Bean and Foss, such advocates of Catholic motherhood in their writing and speaking work, poured a part of themselves into this project. And it shows throughout the book.
"It is our hope that this little book will help you take small steps in the right direction — toward real spiritual growth and the fulfillment of your vocation through everyday work. … Big changes happen with small steps."
So often, in our lives, we focus on the big things: the sacramental milestones, the huge opportunities, the big problems. We forget to appreciate what’s in front of us: the beauty of the everyday and the life that’s in the present moment.
This book is one that every Catholic mom I know deserves. It’s a gift to her, an acknowledgement of her sacrifices and a seed of grace that will blossom throughout the day.
It’s designed to take moments a day. And, really, that’s a small step we should all be taking.
Here’s a taste of a day from October:
Theme for October: Patience
Think: "Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: ‘O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.’" — St. Boniface
Pray: "Give me courage, Lord, always to speak the truth and stand up for what is right, even when all seems lost and the cause feels hopeless. Help me to see the value in remaining steadfast, even in the face of defeat."
Act: "Make a small change toward justice today. Wear a ‘precious feet’ pin to show your support for pro-life causes. Put a bumper sticker on your car. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper."
This is a book that is already a "Catholic Mom Classic," in my opinion. I hope you’ll find it the same.
Sarah Reinhard blogs at